After Darkness, Light
With Christmas around the corner, it’s good to remember what this holiday is about. Thankfully, today’s text is a good reminder of the “reason for the season” so to speak: that Christ is the light of the world. Having said that, if Christ is the light of the world, it assumes that the world has darkness.
Yahweh acknowledges this in the first two verses of our passage. He tells the Israelites that light has come, even though there is darkness around them. They would have understood this darkness as the fact that they were in exile. They were away from their homes, their land, and their history: slaves in a strange place. We experience exile every day. We desire life, but death occurs. We desire food, but there is starvation. We desire light, but there is darkness.
Praise God that we serve a God that acknowledges our exile! Look at the promise given to the Israelites in verses 3-5. Yahweh will gather all of Israel together to be with Him, out of the darkness of exile. This is what Christmas is about. God in Christ sees that we are in exile, far from Him, and takes on flesh so that we would be brought back to Him. And notice, the use of “we” here. Verses 5-6 implies our salvation and celebration is corporate: we celebrate with our sons and daughters, with our neighbours, with the world. Have hope, because Christ is the light of the world.
Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (“The Book of Common Prayer. (1979). New York: Church Publishing Incorporated, p.236.”).
Sergio Gonzalez is finishing his MA in Biblical and Theological Studies at Knox Seminary and currently attends St. Aidan’s Anglican Church (ACNA) in Kansas City, MO.
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